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Despite efforts, the detection of patients who are deteriorating in hospital is often later than it should be. Several technologies could provide the basis of a solution. Recording of vital signs could be improved by both automated transmission of the measured parameters to an electronic patient record and the use of unobtrusive wearable monitors that track the patient's physiology continuously. Electronic charting systems could make the recorded vital signs readily available for further processing. Software algorithms could identify such patients with greater sensitivity and specificity than the existing, paper-based track-and-trigger systems. Electronic storage of vital signs also makes intelligent alerting and remote patient surveillance possible. However, the potential of these technologies depends strongly on implementation, with poor-quality deployment likely to worsen patient care.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical medicine (London, England)

Publication Date





252 - 257


University of Oxford, UK.


Humans, Monitoring, Physiologic, Reproducibility of Results, Vital Signs, Electronic Health Records